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 PLATFORM: DS
BEATEN

eanard is 27, he’s an artist in 15th century Florence, and his hat collection is said to be the largest in the world. As you would expect, the women swoon all over him. All but one, the woman he desires most. In order to woo her he must help her realize her dream of flying and save her from a stampede of bulls, all while concealing the fact that he wears a toupee. Naturally, he is going to need an elite group of gentlemen who can travel through space and time to sing and dance him through this whole process. He needs the Elite Beat Agents.

Believe it or not, Elite Beat Agents is filled with many stories like this one, some of them even weirder. These wildly eccentric tales range from a lost dog trying to find his way home to (and I’m not kidding here) a white blood cell’s fight against a virus. Their kookiness and the quirky comic-style cutscenes that accompany them are actually the most endearing quality of this game. The music selection isn’t bad either. There is a good variety and I think there’s something here to please just about everyone.

Sadly, I can’t talk as highly about the gameplay. As the songs progress, several circles appear surrounding points on the DS touch screen. The circles begin to shrink and the goal is to touch the center dots as their circle shrinks into it. Like with most rhythm games, this is in tune to the music, but the circles can become hard to follow as the difficulty begins to ramp up and more and more of them pop onscreen. The bigger issue here, however, is that something always felt a little off when using the touch screen. I just don’t think this kind of touch interface is well suited to the rhythm game genre. After awhile I actually did start to enjoy myself a little, but Nintendo was never able to convince me that the game works well.

  

MATT HELGESON   7.75
Elite Beat Agents is certainly not a bad game; the touch-screen mechanics lend a new spin to the music game genre and the hilarious (and very Japanese) cutscenes had me in stitches more than once. However, I find Elite Beat Agents to be lacking that extra something that brings me back to such past classics as Um Jammer Lammy or Guitar Hero. For one, I really dislike the garish and loud sound effects that occur whenever you hit a beat; it’s like listening to a hyperactive two-year-old drumming all over the track. In addition, I found that the touch screen controls weren’t dead accurate enough for me to really get into the flow (a problem exacerbated by the note placement, which is sometimes rather unmusical to my ears). Unique? Yes. Creative? You bet. Great? Not quite.
6.75
CONCEPT:
A touch music-themed game filled with Nintendo weirdness – read: insane
GRAPHICS:
Nothing too noteworthy here, the comic-styled cutscenes are neat though
SOUND:
A pretty varied and decent selection of music, but the sound effects can get a little annoying while you’re trying to keep a beat
PLAYABILITY:
The touch interface takes some getting used to and never actually feels as intuitive as other button press rhythm games
ENTERTAINMENT:
There is some appeal here for the music enthusiasts, but it won’t convert anyone to the genre
REPLAY:
Moderately High
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